Converged Media Imperative

Converged media has been a hot topic the last two years and is picking up speed in 2013. This concept represents a blurring of the lines between the three types of media: paid, earned and owned.

I don’t think there are many who would disagree that this is happening and will continue. But another important issue is: What type of marketing professional will flourish in this environment and bring added value to his or her brand?

A word that comes to mind to describe this professional is: diverse. Fluency only in a single area, be it advertising, public relations, social media, branding or others is career and brand limiting. The value add comes from multi-disciplinary professionals who understand all of the converging types of media at the strategic and tactical levels and can fit them into a bigger, more seamless picture.

The disciplinary silos must come down. They should be replaced collaborative, cross-functional teams that can work together across the media spectrum.

All of this doesn’t mean specialization has no place. It simply means marketers must adapt and grow in their understanding of media, and work together more effectively. Converged media demands it.

Are Marketing Execs Falling Behind When it Comes to Digital?

Are marketing execs falling behind when it comes to digital?

It’s a digital horse race and marketing execs aren’t running.

Here’s an interesting post from Mark Schaefer that would indicate that perhaps marketing execs still don’t place the same level of importance on digital marketing when compared to more traditional marketing channels.

Schaefer’s post is based on a Harvard Business Review report that stated only nine companies in the Fortune 500 would be regarded as having a “highly digital” orientation.

Couple this finding with reports that digital media spending still significantly trails traditional spending and it would cause one to wonder how much importance marketing execs place on digital. And this is given the fact that digital media channels are growing much more rapidly than traditional.

A couple factors could be hindering digital growth in the marketing world: 1.) The reluctance of some execs to change and 2.) The need for a better demonstration of ROI from digital media.

I think everyone agrees that digital will move forward. The question is how quickly will it grow in the marketing world?

NFL Averts Public Relations Crisis from “Bounty” System

In an era marked by so many public relations disasters, it’s refreshing to be able to point out when a brand successfully averts a PR crisis. Such is the case with the National Football League (NFL).  The NFL announced on Friday that the New Orleans Saints maintained a “bounty” system to financially reward its defensive players for injuring opponents. This is troubling news to say the least, even for a sport as violent as football.

Under the bounty system, Saints players were paid if they contributed to injuries that removed an opposing player from the game. Players received $1,000 for cart-offs (player removed from the field on a cart) and $1,500 for “knockouts” (player could not complete the game). Payouts doubled and tripled in the playoffs.

It’s not completely surprising to learn that NFL players were intent on hurting other players. You get that sense from watching certain players and their style of play. What is surprising is that it was the NFL that broke the news about the bounty program. To risk understating it, the league isn’t known for its PR savvy. In fact, it has a long history of PR missteps in my opinion.

Proactive PR has its Benefits

Kudos to the NFL for taking decisive action and announcing the problem before anyone else “broke” the story. Their preemptive strategy was smart. They seized control of the flow of information before anyone else could. No doubt, news of the bounty program would have come out eventually. If it was announced by someone else, the league would have been in a reactive PR mode, which is always the least desirable position.

By bravely announcing the news, the NFL won a huge public perception battle. The NFL has consistently preached player safety as one of its highest priorities. Its actions in acknowledging the bounty program and the intention to be decisive in addressing it supports the player safety position. Had news of the program been broken by someone else it clearly would have appeared that the NFL either didn’t know about the program or knew about it but was not addressing it. Those two options don’t support the perception of a sports league that cares about the safety of its players. Being proactive from a PR perspective protected the NFL’s image from taking a huge hit.

The NFL is off to a good start in managing this scandal, but an important component remains. From a PR perspective, if they hope to finish strong they must quickly come to decisions about who is responsible and how those people will be punished. Allowing this to linger only opens the door for rampant media speculation and the story to spin out of control. Decisions must be arrived at quickly and communicated as proactively as the league did when it announced the news of the bounty program. The sooner this chapter is closed for the NFL the fewer the stories and social media chatter that will take place surrounding it.

Any way you look at it, this isn’t an image-enhancing story for professional football. The NFL, however, has done an admirable job thus far in averting what could have developed into a major crisis. Of course, from a PR standpoint, the losers in this situation are the New Orleans Saints and the players and coaches involved. Had the team taken the approach the NFL took in addressing the situation, things may have been different. Of course, now we’ll never know.

What do you think?

12 Steps to Ensure a Successful Media Pitch

Gaining quality media coverage holds great marketing power for any organization. But capturing the attention of a journalist and then successfully placing a feature or news story can be challenging to say the least.

Given the degree of difficulty, here are some key steps that you can take to help make your next a pitch a successful one:

  • Determine the news angle of your pitch. What makes it truly unique and newsworthy? Veiled attempts at simply gaining publicity for the organization almost always fail.
  • Research the journalist and his or her media outlet. Is your news what the journalist typically likes to cover? Make sure the news would interest the audience that the journalist serves as well.
  • Pitch one journalist at a time. Mass emails are impersonal and turn journalists off. The news should be offered as a “scoop” to the journalist to either accept or reject. If the pitch is rejected, only then move to your next option.
  • Keep email pitches short and to the point. No more than 250 words should suffice. The focus should be on the legitimacy of the news, not excessive facts about the organization.
  • Don’t forget the basics, make sure to spell the journalist’s name correctly and don’t be too informal, unless you have a closer relationship with the person.
  • If you have ideas for photographs, video, data and other supporting materials that can be used to develop the final story make sure to mention this in the pitch. This makes the journalist’s job that much easier.
  • Close the pitch with a request that the journalist contact you with his or her decision or any questions. Include a time frame when you will follow up if you haven’t heard back.

When pitching by phone

  • Don’t forget the steps above.
  • Always attempt to speak with the journalist rather than leaving a voice mail message. Only after several attempts should you leave a message.
  • When you reach journalists, always check to make sure they have an opportunity to talk. They may be on deadline, in which case they could become annoyed or won’t give their fullest attention.
  • Keep the pitch brief. Think in terms of 15 second pieces of information. If you finish one piece and they’re interested, go on to the next and so forth.
  • Be ready to give the journalist an opportunity to consider your pitch. Offer to follow up in a few days if extra time is needed.

Media placements offer a third-party stamp of endorsement that most other marketing tactics can’t provide. Landing a news or feature story is well worth the time and effort that goes into it. Wishing you all the best with your next pitch…

What do you think? Has using these steps been helpful to you? What would you add?

Impact Picks – Week of February 27, 2011

Facebook’s Growing Role in Social Journalism

A Facebook-only news organization? It was only a matter of time.

When it comes to journalists using social media, Twitter has been the go-to platform for real-time reporting and reaching out to sources, largely because it’s a public platform and most of its content is accessible. But with Facebook continuing to scale and in some ways becoming more public, it offers journalists an arsenal of content types beyond 140 characters and an alternative destination to connect with new sources of information.

When Communicating, Start with ‘Why’

Too often, press releases begin with the wrong message and miss out on opportunities for their audiences to buy-in and offer support. Instead of starting with what is important to the audience, we often want to start with what is important to us. Think about the simple questions in this post when crafting your next release to help ensure it’s relevant to your audience.

The Future of Community

Online community is a tricky thing. Community is changing rapidly. We used to want people to come to our website, to our forum, to our blog. Now, even if they do go to those places, they also talk about you on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter, and elsewhere. When you add location-based products like Foursquare into the mix, community is getting tricky indeed.

What Type of Content Should My Company Produce?

What type of content really works? It can be best summed up in these words: value-based content. Too often, the people that run brands will say: “we have to be publishing content,” or “we need to get more content out there.” Publishing content for the sake of publishing content adds little to no value. Find out what makes content valuable in this post.

Four Roles Serious Bloggers Play

Are you a reporter, coach, teacher or philosopher? Each of these roles is valuable and indispensible to readers.